Housing, transit and resilience: Mayor Levine Cava's proposed budget for Miami-Dade

It’s a record $11.7 billion spending plan aimed at many of the crises the county is experiencing these days.

In this file photo, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava speaks during Variety's Miami Entertainment Town Brunch Presented By CN Bank on April 13, 2023 in Miami.

In this file photo, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava speaks during Variety's Miami Entertainment Town Brunch Presented By CN Bank on April 13, 2023 in Miami. Photo by John Parra/Variety via Getty Images

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will soon hold a public hearing on Mayor Daniella Levine Cava’s proposed 2024 budget.

It’s a record $11.7 billion blueprint aimed at a lot of the crises the county is experiencing these days. From housing affordability and public transit, to climate resiliency and recycling.

When the Mayor unveiled her budget last month, she called it “smart, compassionate and future-ready.”

Speaking on the latest South Florida Roundup, Mayor Levine Cava told WLRN's Tim Padgett that the budget is a year at a time but the county's needs are far into the future.

"What's great about this particular budget is that we're making extraordinary investments in infrastructure," she said. "We've brought down almost $2 billion in federal and state grants covering everything from transit to septic to sewer resilience and other other transportation infrastructure."

Just last year the county declared a housing affordability crisis — and the problem persists.

The Mayor says that through the county's HOMES program, they are carrying out several solutions — from renovating housing that would otherwise be demolished to rental assistance and providing homeowners with subsidies to take care of their insurance.

"We've prevented 25,000 households from eviction and are providing legal support, counseling support, relocation assistance, everything we possibly can to deal with this ongoing crisis," she said.

Transit is another point the Mayor wants to target with her proposed budget. She told the South Florida Roundup that when combining housing and transportation, "we are the least affordable place in the country."

Her plan includes funding the Better Bus Network, completing the South corridor and making upgrades to the county's MetroRail and MetroMover system.

After a fire this year knocked out our most important garbage incinerator, waste management solutions are dire for the county.

"We just can't keep building up the landfills or shipping our garbage out of state," said Levine Cava. "We need to stop purchasing disposable plastics. We need to compost in our homes. We need to get smart about recycling."

The mayor says that the county will be launching an improved outreach campaign to move toward sustainable strategies for waste management.

Miami Dade County is taking in record revenue. So, when it comes to property tax rates, Mayor Levine Cava is proposing a 1% cut to meet the needs of the community.

"The growth of the economy, the newcomers and the increased property roles need to be shared. We need to share with the public because they are struggling," she said.

On Sept. 7, the Board of County Commissioners will hold their first budget hearing where commissioners will be open to public comment and begin debating the budget for the next year.

Also featured on the South Florida Roundup was the City of Miami mayor Francis Suarez's ethics issues and his short-lived run for president, as well as the international community’s inability to come up with a workable plan of intervention to help Haiti overcome gang rules.

You can listen to the full episode here or wherever you get your podcasts.

This story is published as part of a collaboration between City & State Florida and WLRN News

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